Innovation of the week
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and MIT have built a device that can harvest water from even the driest desert air, said Adele Peters in FastCompany.com. The small, solarpowered box contains a sponge-like material called a metal-organic framework. That material grabs and holds water molecules from the cool desert night air when the box is left open overnight. Closed during the day, the box uses the sun’s heat to release the water molecules as vapor, which is then condensed into clean drinking water. The latest version of the device can harvest a little more than half a gallon of water per day, though larger versions could potentially supply enough water “for showers, laundry, and other uses beyond drinking water.” Researchers say the next step is to figure out how to mass-produce the box’s spongelike material.